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News » Top questions heading into the NFL combine

Top questions heading into the NFL combine

Top questions heading into the NFL combine
At the end of this week, hundreds of NFL draft prospects, scouts, writers, and agents will descend upon Indianapolis for the annual NFL Draft Combine. It's been called everything from a "meat market" to a glorified mass tryout. Players will run, jump, schmooze and pose in their underwear.

Huh? Yeah, it's certainly a unique event.

In truth, it's six days that can make or break an NFL player's career. Whether you're Mike Mamula or Vernon Davis, a good combine performance can catapult you to the top of the NFL Draft and earn you big bucks come April. With the six-day bonanza kicking off on Wednesday, here are 10 lingering questions we'll look to see answered.

1. What's up with Graham Harrell? Why isn't he getting any love?

Remember Graham Harrell? The Texas Tech gunslinger was the Heisman front-runner 10 weeks into the college season. Well, after putting up 5,111 yards and tossing 45 touchdown passes in 2008, the spread offense technician is listed below names like Chase Holbrook, Rhett Bomar and Brian Hoyer on quarterback ranking lists. What gives?

Harrell's got a lot to prove this week. If the Mitchell Report put some asterisks on baseball's home run hitters, Mike Leach's spread offense has done the same for Texas Tech quarterbacks over the years. From Kliff Kingsbury to B.J. Symons to Harrell — it seems as though Leach's signal callers have never gotten much respect from the NFL scouts. Harrell was supposed to be different — a star in high school that could have succeeded in any system — but skepticism still surrounds him. With a stellar performance this week, he can start silencing his critics and prove that in some cases — a quarterback can make a system work, not the other way around.

2. Who is this year's Chris Johnson?

Though he had a highly decorated career at East Carolina and a monster performance in the Hawaii Bowl, few NFL fans really got to know Chris Johnson before last year's NFL combine. Last February was Johnson's unofficial coming out party. The running back left jaws dragging on the RCA Dome carpet when he ripped off a 4.24 40-yard dash. Who can make a name with his speed at this year's event?

Look for Percy Harvin to make some serious noise. As a freshman in high school, Harvin was clocked with a 4.32 40. He went on to set five Virginia high school track records. At Florida, he was a multipurpose threat who was considered unstoppable in the open field. After six weeks of training, don't be shocked if the speedy Harvin breaks the 4.3 mark in his 40. Other speed burners? Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland and Jeremy Maclin of Missouri.

3. Will the Wonderlic test rear its ugly head?

It was in 2006 when Vince Young's Wonderlic test score became the biggest story in sports. Though never confirmed, it was rumored that Young scored a 6 out of 40 on the IQ exam. Young's draft stock wasn't affected — he was taken third overall — but critics of his potential as an NFL quarterback came out of the woodwork in droves. The Wonderlic, used by many companies to test mental capacity and decision making skills, can serve as a roadblock to some players — most notably quarterbacks.

4. Who is this year's Mike Mamula?


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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 17, 2009

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